Friday, June 17, 2022

Robert Young, Maureen O'Hara, and Clifton Webb are "Sitting Pretty"

Sitting Pretty (1948) is an American comedy directed by Walter Lang and starring Robert Young, Maureen O'Hara, and Clifton Webb. Other members of the cast include Richard Haydn, Betty Lynn, and Ed Begley.

Harry King (Young) and his wife Tacey (O'Hara) have gone through several nannies for their three boys and are desperate. So desperate in fact that Lacey hires a Lynn Belvedere (Webb) sight unseen only to find out that Lynn is a man. A man with many talents and abilities that he puts to good use in the King household. 

But is Lynn too good at his job? He may have tamed the three boys but has he won over their parents?

Clifton Webb in Sitting Pretty

Walter Lang (1896 - 1972) was an American film director who is most identified with Twentieth Century-Fox studio where he directed some of their most popular films. At Fox, he directed all their top stars including Tyrone Power, Loretta Young, Shirley Temple, Alice Faye, Betty Grable, Don Ameche, John Payne, Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, and Jeanne Crain. Some of the films Lang directed at Fox include The Little Princess (1939), Moon Over Miami (1941), State Fair (1945), Mother Wore Tights (1947), Cheaper by the Dozen (1950), With a Song in My Heart (1952), The King and I (1956), and Desk Set (1957). Lang was married to Madalynne Field who was an actress at the Mack Sennett studio. Field acted with Carole Lombard at Sennett where they became great friends and was Lombard's secretary until her marriage to Lang in 1937.

Robert Young (1907 - 1998) was an American actor. He was a radio, movie, and television actor. In spite of the fact that Young made over 100 films, he is best remembered for his starring roles in the television series Father Knows Best (1954 -1960) and Marcus Welby MD (1969 - 1976). Young was under contract with MGM early in his career. At Metro, he costarred with some of the most famous leading ladies from that studio including Katharine Hepburn, Margaret Sullavan, Joan Crawford, and Hedy Lamarr. Young received some of his best film roles once he left MGM. As a freelance artist, he starred in The Enchanted Cottage (1945), Claudia and David (1946), They Won't Believe Me (1947), and Crossfire (1947). Young's last theatrical film was Secret of the Incas (1954) co-starring Charlton Heston. Supposedly, this was the film that inspired Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).

Maureen O’Hara (1920 - 2015) was an Irish-American actress and singer. In her native Ireland, O’Hara trained with the Abbey Theatre at age 14. She screen-tested for the role of Mary Yellan in Jamaica Inn at age 19. Director Hitchcock wasn't impressed with O’Hara’s test but Laughton persuaded him to cast her. After finishing the film, O’Hara moved to Hollywood where she was signed to a contract at RKO. In 1941 she starred in How Green Was My Valley, her first collaboration with director John Ford. She starred alongside Tyrone Power in The Black Swan (1942), The Spanish Main (1945) with Paul Henreid, and Sinbad the Sailor (1947) with Douglas Fairbanks Jr. That same year she starred in the Christmas classic Miracle on 34th Street with John Payne, Edmund Gwenn, and a young Natalie Wood. Other popular films include The Quiet Man (1952), The Parent Trap (1961), and McLintock! (1963).

Clifton Webb (1889 - 1966) was an American stage and film actor. Webb was a successful Broadway star and had made several silent films before he appeared in Laura (1944). As the acerbic Waldo Lydecker, Webb established himself as a character actor and eventually a leading actor in films like Cheaper by the Dozen (1950), Dreamboat (1952), and Titanic (1953). Working exclusively for Twentieth Century-Fox, Webb's last film was Satan Never Sleeps (1962) co-starring William Holden and directed by Leo McCarey.

Maureen O'Hara and Robert Young

Sitting Pretty trivia

  • John Payne was set to play the role of Harry King before Robert Young was cast.
  • Although third billed, Webb was nominated for Best Actor for his role as Lynn Belvedere.
  • Film debut of Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou in The Andy Griffith Show).
  • The movie produced two sequels all starring Clifton Webb repeating his role as Belvedere.


To watch the film on YouTube, click on the link below.


To join the discussion on June 27, 2022, at 6:30 p.m. Central Time, click here. Once you RSVP, you will receive an invitation and link to join the discussion on Zoom.


Discussion questions

  1. Was the premise of the film believable?
  2. Sitting Pretty was one of the most popular comedies of the late-1940s. Does it hold up in 2022?
  3. Clifton Webb's performance in this film earned him a Best Actor Academy Award nomination. Did he deserve it? Was his performance Oscar-worthy?
  4. Were Robert Young and Maureen O'Hara believable as a married couple having trouble raising their children?
  5. Did you have a favorite scene from this film?
  6. Was this film like any other family comedy you've seen?

 




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